A-Cat NAs Championship - Struble wraps up title with a day to go

International A-Class Catamaran North American Championship
International A-Class Catamaran North American Championship, Bruce Mahoney expressed a bit of pity for Matt Struble as he drifted past the media boat after the second of three races on Thursday.

'He looks kind of lonely up there by himself,' Mahoney said.

Mahoney, with no finish worse than a sixth, which he discarded, has been in a solid second place behind Struble's seven wins in eight races through the first three days, but Struble is out of sight … like the legendary reply given to Queen Victoria's question after America's victory at the first America's Cup: 'Who's in second place?'

International A-Class Catamaran North American Championship

As a royal flunky explained, 'There is no second.'

So it seems here. Struble, from San Diego, won this event in Michigan three years ago and has this one mathematically sealed with a 13-point lead over Mahoney going into the last two races Friday. His name is already on the Commodore A.F. Di Mauro Perpetual Trophy he'll receive again Friday.

He could choose to discard both races and eat his worst finish, a third, and settle for a total of 10 points. The best his rival from Houston, Tex. could do is 17 points by winning the last two races.

International A-Class Catamaran North American Championship

Will Struble sail Friday?

'Yes,' he said, 'unless there's some crazy weather or something. We'll see. I still see some little things I can improve on.'

Yeah, right.

Struble hasn't just been winning---he's been blowing almost everyone away with 'horizon jobs.'

International A-Class Catamaran North American Championship

Racing in the outer harbor inside the breakwater in modest and steady southerly breeze of six to eight knots, he led Mahoney in Thursday's second race by two minutes and won by 3 1/2 minutes, prompting the latter's comment.

As for who really will finish second, Mahoney, 36, is holding off sailors from Louisiana (Bob Hodges), the hosting Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (Bill Westland), Florida (17-year-old Jeremy Herrin), San Diego (Chris Batchelor) and ABYC (Craig Yandow) for runnerup honors.

The regatta ends with two more races Friday, starting at 1 p.m., conditions permitting.

International A-Class Catamaran North American Championship

International A-Class Catamaran North American Championship

The leaders
(after eight of 10 races; one throwout after six races, two after nine)

1. Matt Struble, San Diego, 1-1-1-1-(3)-1-1-1, 7.
2. Bruce Mahoney, Houston, Tex., 2-2-3-5-(6)-2-3-3, 20.
3. Bob Hodges, Covington, La., 3-8-6-(11)-4-5-4-2, 32.
4. Bill Westland, Huntington Beach, Calif. 5-3-7-4-(13)-9-5-6, 39.
5. Jeremy Herrin, Sarasota, Fla., 4-(10)-9-2-5-7-6-9, 42.
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